'Elvis Lives' on tap May 7 in Windermere Theatre

Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writerApril 26, 2013 

It'll be an ultimate Elvis Presley tribute show when Elvis Lives comes May 7 to the Windermere Theatre at Toyota Center in Kennewick.

There are four Elvis impersonators in the show, each taking on a different era in the life of the legendary man known as The King of Rock 'n' Roll.

One of those impersonators is Ben Klein from Spokane, who will take the audience back to the 1950s -- when Elvis was just a poor Mississippi boy starting out in the music business singing gospel tunes.

"My parents were huge Elvis fans, but as a kid I never shared their passion," Klein said in a telephone interview. "My dad was in the music business and was an Elvis impersonator for a time. And I remember my mom once told me I looked liked Elvis. But what did I care?"

That all changed a few years later when Klein started listening to Presley's early music.

"My eyes opened when I heard his early stuff," Klein said. "The '50s years are my strength, and I open the show during a set at Sun Records wearing a pink jacket."

Once Klein perfected all of Elvis' signature moves -- gyrating hips, vocal style, pompadour hairdo -- he started performing as an amateur Elvis in 2002 and branched into a professional career in 2005.

"When I think back to when I was a kid and didn't understand what the big deal was about Elvis, I'm amazed at what a life-changing experience it's been impersonating this legendary musician," Klein said. "Elvis was a pioneer in music and had style that bridged the gap between white and black music."

Klein might have learned to appreciate and respect Presley's music, but he has a philosophy he lives by when it comes to portraying a celebrity.

"I don't try to talk like Elvis offstage," he said. "And I don't try to act like Elvis offstage -- because that's just creepy."

The other Elvis impersonators in the show are Bill Cherry as Elvis during the concert years; Leo Days, who sings the songs of 1968; and Kevin Mills, who takes on Elvis' movie era.

The show also features Lori Russo as an Ann Margaret impersonator.

Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $27 to $62 plus service charges and are available at www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets purchased at the Toyota Center box office avoid service charges.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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